Tips On Talking To Your Child About Their Mental Health

Tips On Talking To Your Child About Their Mental Health

Not every child suffers from mental health difficulties but there are many that do. 

According to statistics, nearly 20% of young people aged between 3 and 17 in the United States have some kind of mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioural disorder. In some cases, mental health difficulties have led to suicidal behaviours. 

As such, we shouldn’t neglect the mental health needs of our children. While we might think they are okay, there is a chance that we might overlook any problems they may be having with their mental health if we don’t sit down and talk to them. 

But where should you start? Here are some ideas we hope you find useful.

#1: Find ways to begin the conversation

If you ask your child how they’re doing, they may be more likely to give you a one-word answer than a blow-by-blow account of how they’re feeling. 

To help the conversation flow better, it’s a good idea to use a conversation starter. With your younger children, for example, you could use one of these storybooks available from Learn Bright that introduce complex topics about mental health in a simple and age-appropriate way. 

For your older children and teens, you could watch a movie together. The 2020 movie Joe Bell, for example, stars Mark Wahlberg as a father trying to raise awareness about the bullying that caused his son to commit suicide. Using the movie as a springboard, you could ask your teen if they have experienced bullying or ever considered harming themselves. 

You could also watch a movie with your younger children. Here are 3 family-friendly movies that can be used as conversation starters about mental health. 

#2: Validate your child’s experiences

Some children are reluctant to discuss how they are feeling due to fears of being judged or misunderstood. 

So, when talking to your child, don’t dismiss or downplay their feelings or emotions. If they tell you they are struggling, listen to them, let them know their feelings are valid, and reassure them that they aren’t the only people in the world who feel like they do. 

#3: Discuss the next step forward

There are some things you can do as a parent to help your child with their mental health, such as helping them create an action plan so they can take steps for their own self-care. So, you might encourage them to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and take up a hobby that brings them happiness. 

Don’t just tell them that these things are helpful, of course. Let them know why these steps are beneficial to their mental health. 

If you think your child is experiencing serious mental health challenges, you will need to speak to a professional. Talk to your doctor and the relevant members of staff at your child’s school. And consider these mental health helplines when you’re looking for support for your child. 

Finally, open the door for further conversations by letting your child know that you are there to help and support them if they experience new or continuing struggles with their mental health.


Talking to your child about their mental health won’t be easy but it’s something you should do on a fairly regular basis so you can pick up on any issues that may be developing. 

Not every conversation needs to be formal and lengthy as your child might be resistant to talking about their feelings if you pressure them into doing so. 

Sometimes, small conversations with your child in the car or when watching a movie together can be enough when you’re checking in on them. 

If you do detect something that might be wrong, that is the point at which you should try to get a little more out of them or share your concerns with others. 

Pin for later:

Josie Smith
Josie Smith
Share —>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.